Top 10 Best Survival Experts

Survival expert show us how to survive in non civilization areas like forests and deserts.
The Top Ten
1 EJ "Skullcrusher" Snyder EJ Snyder is highly decorated Army Combat Veteran with 25 years military service under his belt, serving Ranger positions in Infantry and Airborne units. He joined the armed forces at 19. He moved up the ranks quickly, seeing combat in both the Gulf War in 1991 and a 15-month tour during Operation Iraqi... read more

I just spent nine months doing market research on survivors to develop an eco-health adventure park with survivor training and challenges. In terms of Survivor Training, meaning you survive and not die in the process of an adventure, EJ is simply the best. Les is a great survivor, great on his own, but I am tired of reading fans saying he is all alone. No, his drop-off crew is minutes away!

Unfortunately, he is so methodical and slow to think and make decisions. In an urgent survival situation, you need strong confidence to react. I'd want EJ by my side over any other survival expert. Also, if you look at the number of comments per Survivor ranked here, EJ has 401, double that of any competitor. He is also much less Hollywood than the other top contestants, meaning he is the real deal to me!

2 Bear Grylls Edward Michael Grylls, better known as Bear Grylls, is a British adventurer, writer and television presenter. He is widely known for his television series Man vs. Wild, originally titled Born Survivor: Bear Grylls for the United Kingdom release.

Bear Grylls is the best out there. When he was just 18 years old, he attended the SAS Selection, known as the hardest in the world. It consists of carrying a fifty-plus pound bag and hiking tens of miles at a time in the hilly Brecon Beacons with little food, water, or sleep. After that, he continued to jungle training where you have to live, survive, and fight in the harsh jungles of Borneo. Then it's interrogation training where you must resist torture and capture. It started with 150 men. Bear was one of 4 men to pass.

After that, he was trained in advanced weaponry, jungle survival, escape and evasion, and much more. He managed to recover from a bad parachute accident and became the youngest Brit to summit Mt. Everest. He's done many expeditions to raise money for charities. His show is awesome! He is one of a kind and very enthusiastic! More than anything, he has a wonderful family. Good job Bear!

3 Mykel Hawke Mykel Hawke is a retired U.S. Army Special Forces officer, author, and television and film personality.

He has real-world knowledge and can give practical techniques. Whereas some of the other "top-rated" suggest you swim through freezing cold water under a mountain, not knowing where it comes out or if there is an exit. Or that it's intelligent to walk around barefoot through snow. Just examples of the "other guys" nonsense.

Mykel gives useful, practical, and safe guidance that would actually help in a survival situation. Not to mention, his survival gear is better than any out there! And that is only listing the survival side of my vote. Mykel is someone I would want to have my back in ANY situation. He is a considerate man, a proud father, a fantastic husband, and an individual who strives to make a positive mark in this world. He deserves the top of this list for more reasons than just his survival expertise.

4 Les Stroud Les Stroud is a Canadian survival expert, filmmaker and musician best known as the creator, writer, producer, director, cameraman and host of the television series Survivorman.

Les Stroud takes a smart and collected look at every survival situation I have ever seen him in. While most others run and jump into scenarios they may not be well suited for, or do things out of sheer spontaneity, Stroud stands apart. To have Bear Grylls ranked number 1 is a pure joke. His shows are phony and scripted.

For example, watching him drink his own urine as a source of "hydration" was ridiculous. Stroud, on the other hand, teaches you how to use your urine to create clean drinking water. Just a small example, but if half of the people watched half the amount of survival shows and documentaries I have, it's clear that Les Stroud is a knowledgeable survival expert who truly practices what he preaches throughout his day-to-day life.

5 David Canterbury

I have been through three of Dave's courses and have attended his annual Pathfinder Gathering. This man knows his stuff and is ready to teach you in simple enough terms that you'll be able to pick it up, apply it, and it will sustain you. He emphasizes "dirt time" to learn, not just books, slides, or dry erase boards.

If he tells you about an herb or tree, you'll have to go find one by yourself and bring it back to demonstrate that you know it. If he teaches you how to find food, you'll have to go get it by yourself and bring it back to show that you understand. A real down-to-earth expert who cares.

If you're out with him, you will eat, not starve.

6 Laura Zerra

Laura has shown great skills, fantastic attitude, and great mental toughness. Her physical toughness is also quite amazing. Watching her in "Naked and Afraid," she was an amazing partner.

By the end, it was she who kept rowing when poor EJ was so tired that he was falling asleep while sitting. She kept going despite her own exhaustion and fatigue. A real woman. Yes, for Laura - she deserves a higher spot in this hierarchy.

She has the mental fortitude to back up her amazing survival skills. She is a team player but also could survive alone. If I were going to learn from someone, it would be her.

7 Cody Lundin

Cody is obviously the best survivalist when it comes to turning nothing into something. He is very knowledgeable in relying on nature. Additionally, he has a wealth of knowledge about different plants and insects, which is very helpful when you can't find a meat source. Cody has also proven to be a well-disciplined fire starter, as he has shown that he can virtually make a fire out of anything. Also, 99.9% of the time, Cody succeeds in starting a fire.

Cody is a great survivalist because he is very cautious. He knows that to be found alive, one has to be careful in unfamiliar environments. With over 24 years of survival experience, Cody has demonstrated his extensive knowledge and has taken time to perfect his survivalist skills, making him the great survivalist he is today.

8 Matt Graham

Matt Graham is as impressive a survivalist as anyone I have watched and read about. He has the right personality and attitude of the type of person you would want to survive around and to learn from. For as far as I'm concerned, hands down, he is the very best of all. Impressed with his decisions on all different terrains to survive, he can make a shelter out of feathers and cordage – no joke, the man is something else.

And the way he respects the land, the environment, and all living things, he and I would have lots in common. You have to respect the man and his knowledge within him for survival. I would really enjoy doing survival with him, for he doesn't seem to ever be overtaken by situations that may develop and calmly and rationally moves through each obstacle to be rescued or found. He takes the time along the way to thank nature and the life he must take to survive, and that's the way it should be. Never forgets we must co-exist with nature and all living in it.

Wish Matt would do a show with someone who doesn't know how to survive and teach and train to survive with him and learn his crafts and knowledge of survival. Too much attitude with some survivalists when put together to exist in nature, LOL. I would be the first to volunteer, Matt, if you ever have a show like that with you and someone to teach survival to around the world. Just my opinion, but again, Matt Graham is the best survivalist anywhere in the world, PERIOD! Best to you, Matt, and hope one day to meet you and talk about survival and to just have great conversation. Take care, Sir... Donny Peay

9 Mors Kochanski Mors Kochanski is a Canadian bushcraft and wilderness survival instructor, naturalist and author. He has acquired an international following and has instructed for both military and civilians in Canada, the US, the UK and Sweden.

Mors really has a better viewpoint on what "survival" really is. Everyone else seems to just be cashing in on this movement, not Mors. You'll never see him with a retail store or a special namesake knife.

I've trained with Dave, and he does know his stuff. I'm just saying that Mors was doing real-world survival and instructing when these boys were popping pimples before dates. Mors will never smear dirt on his face for a photo op, then spend his entire class selling you a product.

He is a survivalist, not a salesman or sitcom star.

10 Ray Mears Raymond Paul Mears is a British woodsman, instructor, businessman, author and TV presenter. His TV appearances cover bushcraft and survival techniques.

If I were stranded in the wilderness with anyone other than my sons, I would choose Ray Mears. He's one of the very few who doesn't need to exaggerate or put on a false front to teach survival techniques.

I really like all of the other survival experts, but Ray Mears, I can't say enough about this guy. He actually shows you how to do everything, rather than people like Bear Grylls, who is more like a showman who plays up for the camera and does stuff that you wouldn't necessarily do in a survival situation.

I do think Bear and everybody else are good, but for me, it's got to be Ray Mears.

The Contenders
11 Kellie Nightlinger

I've seen several of these top survivalists demonstrate their skills on various TV series, and of course, Kellie is known for being the first woman to appear and complete her challenge on Naked and Afraid. I have followed Kellie for several months on Facebook, and it is difficult for me to believe there is anyone on this Top 100 list that could surpass her in her love of sharing knowledge of symbiotic relationships in nature, and of course, her love of the outdoors and beauty of nature in all its forms.

She revels in it daily and should earn her a special spot on this list. "Get Outdoors and Go Wild!"

12 Jeff Zausch

I have never, ever seen anyone who could hunt and fish with no equipment as well as Jeff Zausch. On Naked and Afraid, Naked and Afraid XL, and Dual Survival, he's proven that he can push himself to the limit and come out smiling. He's a joy to watch.

Jeff is extremely adaptable and manages to come through where so many others fail. He has a really positive attitude which certainly helps him succeed.

Jeff is the most decorated Naked and Afraid survivor and co-host of Dual Survival's final season with EJ Snyder. Jeff is a master fisherman and survivalist. He is tough mentally, which is inspiring.

13 Joseph Teti

Joe's attitude is tough and seemingly invincible when it comes to the ability to survive in any situation. He gets my vote for sure.

14 Les Hiddins

The Great Father of Bushcraft from our Globe's Southern Hemisphere, who is in the same class and ranks as Lofty Wiseman and Mors Kochanski, is at No. 67? This is definitely outrageous, and this poll is such a joke. Aussie Legend Bushcrafter - Les Hiddins should definitely be in the top 5 with Ray Mears, Lofty Wiseman, and Mors Kochanski.

Watch his series. He knows Australia. Why he is not close to the top makes no sense.

The one and only Bushtucker Man, one of Australia's true pioneers in the art of bushcraft and survival.

15 Matt Wright

Still, Matt is the real best survivalist for me in terms of skills and capabilities. A team player and a leader by example. Definitely someone you can trust and rely on.

Matt has skills beyond belief. Not only has he proven he can survive, but he also doesn't have an ego that prevents him from helping others. He not only teaches.

He is actually happy to see others succeed and do well. He is a great survivalist individually, but he is also a fantastic team player.

Matt is the best survivalist here. He can use a bow like Robin Hood, he teaches others, he's helpful and generous, plus he's very knowledgeable. I think he could survive in any setting for years. Best survivalist I've ever seen.

16 Ron Hood

He and his videos have provided more helpful instruction to more people than all of the others put together, with the exception of some others that you didn't list. Mors Kochanski, Larry Dean Olsen, Tom Roycraft - heck, these three taught most of these others as well as provided them with free guidance and instruction.

Your list leaves a lot to be desired. TV or YouTube personality doesn't equal knowledge, skill, instructional accuracy, and actual caring for "how people are taught," not just "what they are taught."

17 Lofty Wiseman

Look at what he has done. Listen to what he has to say, and you will realize he is the real deal. He tells how he learned to survive in some interviews. He didn't learn from books, videos, or even courses. He learned from the guides and people he worked with during his time in the SAS.

He is also good to listen to, very down to earth, and he teaches you to primarily survive. If you find yourself in a bad situation, he teaches you to survive, get help, get to a safe place, and to do it quickly and safely.

Some guys want the glory, others make it look like a leisure activity, some make it look like continual risk-taking. Lofty makes it real, minimizes risk, and teaches what works. I would say "Vote Lofty" every time.

18 Lee Trew
19 Steven Hall Jr.

This man does not have the word 'quit' in him. The only way he is going to leave is to be carried out. He has faced a lot of trials and has managed to push through. That to me is survival.

Even though he is a little impressed with himself, he is a legend. No tap outs, never gives up, and brings lots of skills with him on every challenge.

This man can survive anywhere. Watching him survive naked in the snow was so exciting. He is mentally tough, a great teammate, and impressive to watch as he navigates new surroundings.

20 John McCann

John is unassuming and has a quiet confidence. The classes he teaches are always well attended. John is most known for his books and articles, so he doesn't often get votes because of his limited TV exposure.

However, those who have had an opportunity to meet him know he is both knowledgeable and helpful.

John knows his stuff, excellent author and teacher. Personally, I think he would laugh to see himself listed as an expert because he always refers to himself as a student.

John knows his stuff and he teaches what he knows. When he learns, he passes on the knowledge. Like his concepts: keep learning and pass it on.

21 Jeffy Geer

Jeff Geer is an authentic woodsman. He is a hunter, fisherman, and has always been a terrific self-reliant provider for his friends and family. This is a total "came from a poor background" kind of thing.

The man finds time to practice and teach skills, grow and harvest food, raise a family, and still hold down a full-time job. Not many others can say the same thing. And he never tries to sell you the next great survival product.

I've taken classes with Jeffy Geer and another "celebrity" instructor that resides much closer to number one. Their places should be reversed. The amount of skill, talent, and knowledge Jeffy possesses far surpasses that other "expert." His personality and attentiveness to our needs as students is second to none.

Jeffy never tried to oversell me a product or convince me to promote his brand in any way. There's a huge contrast between the reality of these "experts" and the popularity of their notoriety.

22 Forrest Galante
23 Manu Toigo
24 Mickey Grosman

Mickey pushed the art of survival skills to its limits on his recent 5,000-mile epic expedition in the Amazon jungle. The real deal! He has just recently completed his journey. His determination to push forward along this survival journey became a great source of inspiration to cancer warriors and their families. He has battled cancer himself.

And he is not a kid. I've been following Mickey's progress across the Amazon, 5,000 miles since last year. He's hacked, slashed, walked, swam, and tumbled from the western coast of South America to the eastern coast, and through the Amazon. I can't wait to see the final footage of his trek on TV, video, or wherever he manages to get it broadcast. Just incredible! Go Mickey!

25 Jeff "Biddy" Whitfield
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